Blog Entry

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 7:25 pm
'There’s no question it can be worked out if [Peyton] wants to be here.' - owner Jim Irsay (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

By all accounts, Indianapolis' first Super Bowl was a resounding success. From all the things the host committee could control (hotels, media, fans, transportation), to even those it couldn't (the weather), it was a seamless process that made last year's Super Bowl in Dallas seem more like Thunderdome.

If there was one blemish -- albeit a tiny one -- it was the after-school-special-style drama that played out between Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and team owner Jim Irsay. Whether the leaks about Manning's health were planned or not (we think they were), the fact remains: Peyton's neck injury is serious enough to raise questions about his future in Indy, and it's to the point where just about everybody figures he'll be playing elsewhere in 2012 (or whenever he's healthy).

Manning's Offseason Saga
Except that Irsay now seems amenable to keeping Peyton in Indy. (Seriously, we're almost at the point where Manning and the Colts are like that insane couple you know who break up every few months in a spectacularly public spectacle only to get back together days later to try to make it work. And because they really, really love each other.)

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay told the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell Tuesday. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.’’

Manning, 35, missed the 2011 season while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries. The Colts went 2-14, Irsay subsequently cleaned house, and now, with a new front office, coaching staff and the first overall pick, looks to rebuild a franchise that Peyton led to one championship, 11 playoff appearances, eight 12-plus-win seasons, and a 141-67 record.

“There’s no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay, who has concerns over Manning’s long-term health, told the Star. “It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton.’’

Of course, this won't preclude the Colts from taking a quarterback with that top pick. And it also means that Manning, should he want to stay, won't be in line for the $28 million bonus that's due March 8. Irsay expects to meet with Peyton in the next week, and as Chappell notes, the $28 million bonus activates the final four years and $90 million of his current contract.

In light of Irsay's comments, here are Manning's choices: a) don't budge off the $28 million and expect the Colts to release him (there will be plenty of interest in Manning's services in free agency, no matter his current health status), or b) rework his contract and stay with the Colts where he'll most likely serve as a mentor to Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

It still seems like a long shot that Manning would return to the Colts, primarily because if he thinks he can play at a high level for 2-3 more years, he won't get that opportunity in Indy if the new franchise quarterback is standing over his shoulder.

The Star's Bob Kravitz guesses that Manning won't "be thrilled" when the owner and the quarterback eventually talk because any scenario that includes Peyton and the Colts in the same sentence will also mean that he'll have to take a hefty paycut to stay in town.

"The franchise looks good here either way," Kravitz wrote Tuesday night. "If he leaves, then the Colts can say, 'Well, it’s on Peyton. That was his choice.’' If he returns, it’s going to be on the Colts’ terms, and while Manning comes off as the ultimate hero, the Colts and Irsay get some of that reflected glory."

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Since: Jul 14, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:23 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Irsay just needs to stop trying to be in the public eye.  He just wants to hear himself. Stop tweeting, twit !

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:22 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

payton will stay in indy! not a doubt in my mind he will take less with performance incentives in the new contact.he already said he would be open to that!

Since: Aug 23, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:17 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Seems like Manning's current contract was backloaded to stay under the salary cap and give the Colts some flexibility to give him the supporting players they needed. Now they want Peyton to take another hit for the team. At some point one of the best quarterbacks in modern NFL history should get paid like one of them.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:13 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Thiis is all bs.  "We'd love to have Peyton back"  He forgot to say or what he meant to say was "We'd lover to have Peyton back if he doesn't mind playing for free."

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:54 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Peyton is gone and he will be released soon. They paid him 26 million last year and he missed the season. Now he wants another 28 million by March 1st. Then he has a 7 million dollar salary for 2012. Then they are going to draft Andrew Luck and probably commit 10 million to him. So, between Peyton's 35 million and Luck's 10, they are committing 45 million dollars to the QB position against a cap of about 120 million. That is a horrible cap move and can set the franchise back five years, considering they have other needs on that team. This is not MLB where an owner can weigh salary against potential reveunes generated from a popular player. The money given to one player directly limits what you can use to sign free agents or lock in existing players to longer deals.

Since: Dec 20, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:23 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

I wish the company I worked for would give me a 5 or 6 year deal without any regard to my health or performance. Sure Peyton is a good quarterback, but let's live in the real world for a second. He is not God. He is a worker like any of the rest of us and what he can do for the company is what his worth is.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:14 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

sorry, would not have paid.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:12 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

I understand and I agree. I guess I should have made my comment a little more clear saying that if Irsay didn't want him, he would have paid him a bunch of money to not play.

Since: Dec 4, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:10 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

It might be just my way of seeing things, but all of this public commotion involving the Colts and Peyton Manning have been handled in the worst possible way. I always thought that internal matters should be discussed, as the adjective suggests, internally. Sending messages through the media is a sign of a certain non professionalism and lack of respect for the player involved by the organization.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:09 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

RAVENS2007 why don't you check your stats when talking about teams in BMore. Best thing Irsay did was move the team out of that crap hole. The last few years the Colts were in Bmore, there was less then 35K fans and the games. How many people did the stadium hold? Alot more then that. While your at it, why don't you go to an O's game and see how fans you see there? (O's fans that is) The only time you guys sell the place out is if the Yanks or Sox's are in town and it's not even O's fans that buy the tickets. Yet, if they were to up and leave, we'd have to hear you wine about it for the 20 years.

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